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Cambridge set for housing rental revolution



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Cambridge is set for a rental housing revolution as part of the massive regeneration outlined in Brookgate’s plans for the area surrounding Cambridge North station.

Novotel groundbreaking ceremony hails the start of Cambridge Square evelopment. Here's how the hotel could look... (7987135)
Novotel groundbreaking ceremony hails the start of Cambridge Square evelopment. Here's how the hotel could look... (7987135)

The company’s chief executive, Sven Topel, revealed the plans for 1,000 build-to-rent (BtR) homes to celebrate plans for AccorInvest’s new four-star Novotel hotel, which is due to open in the autumn of next year.

The 217-bed hotel located at Cambridge Square will feature a restaurant, bar, gym, 10 metre swimming pool and conference facilities and create more than 60 full-time jobs. Further developments are designed to bring homes, shops and offices as the new district around Cambridge North takes shape.

Groundbreaking for new Novotel at Cambridge North Station with from left Mark Elliot, Sven Topel and Olivier Daguzan. Picture: Keith Heppell. (7987148)
Groundbreaking for new Novotel at Cambridge North Station with from left Mark Elliot, Sven Topel and Olivier Daguzan. Picture: Keith Heppell. (7987148)

Mr Topel said: “We are looking at a 1,000 build to rent scheme, and we hope to make a planning application on everything from here to the Cowley Road by the end of the year.

“It will be a complete game changer for this part of the city. The key message from Brookgate’s side is that in five years’ time this area will be completely transformed and Novotel are at the heart of it.

“BtR is gradually being rolled out in cities across the country and it is perfect for this area of Cambridge. We hope to have the first of 300 going up at the end of next year.

“They will be one and two-bedroom apartments and it is something that will help transform this area of the city.”

The build-to-rent (BtR) sector in the UK (formerly known as the private rented sector, or PRS) has grown substantially in recent years and now accounts for around 20 per cent of all UK households.

BtR is expected to grow significantly over the next few years and the sector has already increased by 49 per cent in 2017-18 to 4,000 units, and is set to rise further to 10,000 units over the next two years.

The most successful current BtR schemes are in urban locations, with local transport within walkable distance.

Large pension funds and property companies are attracted to BtR because they offer sustainable high-quality investments that deliver longer term returns.

BtR schemes generally consist of a number of different properties from one to two-bedroom apartments, which remain in the ownership of a single landlord, who provides maintenance and other services to the whole site, including Wifi.

The new Novotel is seen as the first step in the development of the Cambridge square adjacent to the station.

It is the first commercial building to be constructed since the opening of the station in May 2017 and will be built by McAleer & Rushe.



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